Plenary speakers

Please see below details of the plenary speakers presenting at Photon14:

 Professor Majed Chergui, (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, (EPFL), Switzerland)
Title of Presentation: Combining the atomic-scale resolutions of time and space

After studying in London, Majed Chergui obtained his PhD in Paris and became a research associate of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). After spending 6 years at the Free University of Berlin (Germany), in 1993 he was appointed professor of Physics at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and in 2003, he joined the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, as professor of Physics and Chemistry. Twenty years ago, he initiated a research programme in ultrafast spectroscopy of condensed phase molecular systems, and some 15 years ago, he pioneered the technique of ultrafast X-ray absorption spectroscopy. In parallel, he also pushed the limits of ultrafast non-linear optical techniques such as photon echo and fluorescence up-conversion, and more recently multidimensional spectroscopy, into the ultraviolet below 300 nm. He has applied these various tools to the study of fundamental photoinduced phenomena in metal-based molecular complexes, biological systems and materials, in particular, semiconductor metal-oxides.

Majed Chergui is head of the laboratory of ultrafast spectroscopy at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Between 2005 and 2012, he was chairman of the ESF-DYNA network on Ultrafast Structural Dynamics and till 2013 he was editor-in-chief of Chemical Physics. He is now editor-in-chief of the newly founded journal Structural Dynamics, co-published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Crystallographic Association (ACA). He has received several awards of which the most recent ones are the Rammal Award (Euroscience Foundation, 2007), The Kuwait Prize for Physics (2009) and the Humboldt Research Prize (2010).


(Rank Prize Lecture) Professor Martin D Dawson, (Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde and Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics UK)
Title of Presentation: Applied research in photonics: from micro-LEDs to VECSELs and from start-ups to Fraunhofer

Martin Dawson was one of the founding members of staff of the Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, which he joined in March 1996 and of which he is Director of Research. He obtained his PhD in Laser Physics from Imperial College in 1985, and followed this with post-doctoral work in the USA in the group of Prof. A.L. Smirl, first at North Texas State University and subsequently at the University of Iowa. His work there involved ultrafast spectroscopy of semiconductors and femtosecond laser research. He returned to the UK in 1991 to join the newly-formed Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd. as a Senior Researcher, working on semiconductor spectroscopy and diode laser development. His research interests at the Institute of Photonics focus on III-V optoelectronic devices and materials' science, and he is particularly recognised for contributions to VECSEL semiconductor lasers, dilute nitride semiconductors and gallium nitride based microsystems technology. His further research interests extend to diamond photonics and organic and nano-composite lasers. Dawson is a Fellow of the IEEE, serving as Scottish IEEE/LEOS Chapter Chair from 2000 - 2003 and as Programme Chair for the IEEE Photonics Conference in 2013. He is also a fellow of OSA, IOP and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Dawson is co-founder of mLED Ltd. He became the inaugural Head of the UK's first Fraunhofer research centre - the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics - in November 2012. 


Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS (Imperial College London, UK)
Title of Presentation: Quantum technology for a networked world   

Sir Peter Knight is Senior Fellow in Residence at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre at Chicheley Hall and immediate past-President of the Institute of Physics. Knight retired at the end of September 2010 as Deputy Rector (Research) at Imperial College where he was responsible for the College's research strategy and a member of the Imperial College Management Board and Council. He retains his Professorship of Quantum Optics at Imperial. His research centres on theoretical quantum optics, strong field physics and especially on quantum information science. Peter Knight is a Past-President of the Optical Society of America. He is a Thomson-ISI "Highly Cited Author". He was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2005 for his work in optical physics. Knight was chair of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council at the UK Ministry of Defence until 2010 and a member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council until 2012. He continues to be involved in advising government on science issues. Knight was Chief Scientific Advisor at the UK National Physical Laboratory until the end of 2005. He has won a number of prizes and awards including the Thomas Young Medal and Glazebrook Medal of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society and the Ives Medal of the OSA.

Professor J Roy Sambles FRS, FInstP, (University of Exeter, UK)
Title of Presentation: Zig-zag gratings, obliquity and surface waves

Professor John Roy Sambles F R S, F Inst P, was born in Cornwall, United Kingdom in 1945. He studied Physics at Imperial College London, obtaining a first class honours degree in 1967 and a PhD in solid state physics in 1970. Following a 2 year PDRA in surface physic at Imperial in 1972 he was appointed lecturer in Physics at the University of Exeter, and was awarded the first ever internal promotion to a chair in Physics at Exeter in 1991. In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society for his contribution to a broad range of research on the fundamentals of melting, spin waves in metals, molecular rectification, liquid crystal optics and plasmonics. Latest among several awards has been the Faraday medal of the Institute of Physics in 2012.

At Exeter he now heads the large Electromagnetic Materials research team exploring the microwave response of electromagnetic metamaterials, photonics in Nature and surface plasmons. He is presently President Elect of the Institute of Physics, a Council member of EPSRC, chairing its Resource Audit Committee, was a member of the Government Defence Science Advisory Committee for six years, has been a consultant for Dstl since 2003 and has sat on the Advisory Board of the Counter Terrorism Centre since its inception. He has published over 500 papers in international journals and is a member of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework Physics sub-panel.

Dr Frances Saunders, Institute of Physics President
Title of Presentation:
Translating innovative technology into business

Following her graduation from Nottingham University, Frances worked as an Electronic Engineer in the motor industry before joining the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment at Malvern as a research scientist in the Liquid Crystal Devices team. She undertook a variety of research and science and technology management roles within the MOD establishments and in Central Government, where she oversaw the interface with the Research Councils and RCUK. She also set up the Diamond Light Source, supported the activities of the British Antarctic Survey and represented the UK on the Council for CERN and at the OECD Global Science Forum. The culmination of her Civil Service career was her role as Chief Executive of Dstl which she held from 2006 until her early retirement in March 2012.

Frances was a founding Non-Executive Director of Ploughshare Innovations Ltd, the subsidiary of Dstl she set up in 2006 to exploit its intellectual property. She has experience as an NED of technology start-up companies and is currently an NED of Becatech Systems Ltd. She has been a Member of Cranfield University Council since 2007, was a member of the industry advisory panel to the Cockroft Institute from 2009-12 and is a Trustee of the Engineering Development Trust. She is a member of the Physics Panel for the REF2014 university assessment exercise and was elected as President Elect of the Institute of Physics in 2012, taking up the office of President in October 2013.

(Optics and Photonics Prize Lecture) Professor David Walker (Professor of Optics at Glyndwr University, Professional Research Associate, University College London, Research Director, Zeeko Ltd)
Title of Presentation
: Commercializing University Research - A Personal Experience - Warts and All

Professor Walker is 0.5FTE Professor of Optics at Glyndwr University, and 0.5FTE Professorial Research Associate at University College London. He established and directed the Optical Science Laboratory at UCL from the early 1990's, developing astronomical instrumentation and sub-systems for some of the world's largest astronomical telescopes. He subsequently led the £4.2m EPSRC Basic Technology project that established the National Facility for Ultra-Precision Surfaces at OpTIC in North Wales, and re-located there in 2005.

Professor Walker's research focusses on advanced processes for optical fabrication and measurement, and large optics in particular. He leads R&D on the ESO mirror segment project, and his current work focusses on how to bridge the gulf between prototype segment manufacture, and an automated serial-production plant. He also leads Glyndwr's participation in the FISICA Framework-7 project in infrared space optics, and a new TSB project in process-automation using industrial robots. Another project he leads, funded by STFC, involves the mathematics and implementation of novel pseudo-random tool-paths, to reduce the regular features ground or polished into surfaces by more conventional techniques.

He works on the cusp between university-research and industrial-exploitation, was co-founder of Zeeko Ltd in 2000, and is its current Research Director. Zeeko manufactures computer controlled polishing machines and associated measurement instrumentation for a wide range of market sectors, and its research sister-company is based within the OpTIC building. Zeeko won a Queen's Award for Innovation 2011 for on-machine metrology, a concept Prof. Walker pioneered under the EPSRC Basic Technology funding. He is an ardent believer in technology-transfer being a bi-directional process:- universities have much to learn from industry, complementing the more commonly perceived intellectual-property pipeline from universities to companies.

Professor Walker chaired the Form Metrology Special Interest Group of the National Physical Laboratory for several years, and in 2011 completed his five years' appointment to the HEFCW Research Innovation and Engagement Committee. He is a member of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in Westminster, and is a frequent speaker to a wide range of audiences, ranging from invited talks at specialist conferences, to the general public and schools. With his national and international collaborators, he publishes in the leading high-impact optics journals.

Professor Walker was awarded the 2014 Optics and Photonics Prize by the UK Institute of Physics, in recognition of his work both on astronomical instrumentation and on technology-transfer with Zeeko Ltd.

Professor David R Williams (University of Rochester, USA)
Title of Presentation: Functional imaging of single cells in the living eye  

Williams received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1979. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill in 1980 and joined the University of Rochester in 1981, where he has an appointment in the Institute of Optics as well as in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and Ophthalmology. He is currently William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics. Since 1991, Williams has served as Director of Rochester's Center for Visual Science, an interdisciplinary research program of 32 faculty interested in the mechanisms of human vision. In 2011, he was appointed Dean for Research of Arts, Science and Engineering where he is responsible for maximizing opportunities for faculty research and scholarship. Williams' research marshals optical technology to address questions about the fundamental limits of human vision. His research team demonstrated the first adaptive optics system for the eye, showing that vision can be improved beyond that provided by conventional spectacles. This work lead to wavefront-guided refractive surgery used throughout the world today. More recently, his group has been deploying adaptive optics to obtain microscopic images with unprecedented resolution in the living eye, which is providing a new way to study blinding diseases of the retina and accelerate the development of therapies for them. Williams is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Awards he has received include the OSA Edgar G. Tillyer Award in 1998, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's Friedenwald Award in 2006, the Bressler Prize from the Jewish Guild for the Blind in 2007, and the Champalimaud Vision Award in 2012.




Latest News

Conference handbook now available

A copy of the provisional programme is available to download

Key dates

  • Discounted rates for exhibition stands:
    31 December 2013
  • Early registration deadline:
    1 July 2014
  • Registration deadline:
    25 August 2014